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Mandera county assembly approves budget

Saturday July 20 2019

Mandera County Assembly

Members of Mandera County Assembly ahead of budget reading at the assembly on July 19, 2019. They approved the county budget with amendments. PHOTO | MANASE OTSIALO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

MANASE OTSIALO
By MANASE OTSIALO
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Mandera County Assembly on Friday approved budget estimates for 2019/2020 financial year after striking out more than Sh600 million set aside for national government functions.

The county seeks to fund the Sh11.4 billion budget through Sh10 billion from the national treasury and Sh200 million in local revenue.

In a special sitting Friday afternoon, convened by the Speaker Mohamed Khalif, the MCAs hit out at the executive for allocating Sh646 million for national government activities.

Mr Ahmed Rashid Mohamed, Chairman Budget and Appropriation Committee informed the assembly that the county finance executive failed to explain the funding of national government functions in Mandera.

“On engaging the county executive member for finance, he failed to provide documents in support of the funding of national government functions,” he said.

Among national functions deleted by MCAs from the Mandera budget estimates included Sh148 million for Mandera Teachers Training College, Sh107 million for Mandera Technical Training Institute, Sh15million for fencing Mandera Secondary School and Sh148 million for Kenya Medical Training College.

Others are Sh129 million for the controversial Karo Airport, Sh35 million for fencing Takaba airstrip and Sh15 million for construction of a dining hall at Moi Girls Secondary School.

The county legislators also scrapped a relief food programme terming it a waste of public funds.

“From public participation, members of public have continuously insisted that the relief food program has little impact on the needy and vulnerable in the society,” said Mr Mohamed.

The MCAs instead diverted the relief food kitty to a cash transfer program and social protection. The assembly is in the process of providing the legal infrastructure to implement the same.

At least Sh28 million had been set aside for relief food this financial year including Sh4 million for loaders of relief food at the stores. Another Sh2 million was allocated towards supervision of food distribution and Sh5 million for renting food stores.

In a debate full of excitement, MCAs agreed not to allow funding for stalled mega projects in the county.

“The budget committee has exhibited fairness and justice to locals of Mandera and has promoted social equity across all wards,” said Takaba MCA Bishar Abdullahi.

He said deleting funding for national government functions was a step in the right direction arguing that county government should now concentrate on issues affecting locals.

Ashabito MCA Shabaan Hillow said the executive had presented what he termed a family budget but the assembly committee had changed it to a people’s budget.

“We have stopped an injustice with our hand and God shall bless us for that,” he said.

He said Sh140 million allocated for drugs meant that every local of Mandera will get Sh8 for medicine.

“Mandera needs drugs in the hospitals, we need a blood bank and this will be achieved if we put money in the right projects,” Mr Hillow said.

Wargadud MCA Alinoor Derrow said the local community priorities have finally been considered in the revised budget.

“Public participation opinion has never been considered in the past but this committee has done it meaning community priorities have been considered,” he said.

The budget committee reported to the house that locals of Banisa have warned to beat up any committee members who will return in the town seeking their opinion on new projects when nothing has been done in the area.

“Some residents, especially those of Banisa Sub County have sworn not to welcome any other committee for public participation if their cry for clean water and expansion of health facilities are not considered,” Mr Mohamed told the house.

The committee expressed fears that the executive will not be able to achieve the set local revenue target since no details were provided on the previous year local revenue collection.

Mandera government hopes to collect Sh31 million from land rates, Sh21 million from Miraa business and Sh24 million from the livestock markets.

The health department received a lion’s share of Sh2.5 billion, while the department of water, environment and natural resources got Sh1.5 billion.

Ministry of Trade, Investments and Cooperative got the least share of Sh229 million.

The budget and appropriation committee warned the county executive against obstructing it in delivering its mandate by failing to avail all needed documents.

It asked the executive to ensure fidelity to the constitution in resource allocation by concentrating on devolved functions.